By: Anthony Monzon
SEATTLE - More than two years of dread for drivers and communities suddenly filled with cars comes to an end this weekend.
The West Seattle Bridge will reopen Sunday. It's been closed since March of 2020 after a routine inspection found structural cracks were growing at an accelerated rate.
"I need to make it crystal clear that we can't be 'One Seattle' without West Seattle," said Mayor Bruce Harrell, speaking at a commemorative ceremony Friday.
Also in attendance was former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who made the call to repair the bridge as the pandemic unfolded.
"Those were very trying times, and we continue to experience the ravages of this pandemic." Harrell continued, "then Mayor Durkin got the call. Thank you for your leadership."
The high bridge has historically been Seattle's busiest street, carrying an estimated 100,00 vehicles each day before its sudden closure.
"Overnight, the bridge shutdown caused an extra six miles of detours through the congested First Avenue South Bridge, added 30 minutes to what would be a 15-minute commute to Downtown, and more than 84,000 drivers and 25,000 bus riders had to find a new way to work," said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.
The nearly $67 million worth of repairs were tested time and time again before reopening. Experts believe the bridge should now last another four decades.
"The bridge is better, it is safer, it will ensure that we stay connected and unified, much more so than we were before," said U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal.
With repairs and roadblocks by the wayside, local leaders say now it's time to reconnect.
"Come back to West Seattle," Rep. Jayapal said. "Come check out the restaurants, come see our small businesses, help the small businesses that have had to go through so much with the closing of the bridge, as well as COVID."
"When the bridge shut down two years ago, it turned West Seattle into an accidental island. It cut us off from a key part of our city, a key part of our history, and a key part of our tradition, and finally, that will be reunited," said Sen. Cantwell.
The City of Seattle shares starting Sunday, the low bridge will be open for all drivers to use. It adds neighborhood traffic should return to normal levels in a matter of weeks.
for more features.